The municipal reform in the focus of the Russian Constitutional Court: new substantive and procedural approaches

Available in Russian

Available for free

Author: Elena Gritsenko

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2016-5-43-71

Keywords: Access of citizens to constitutional justice; access to constitutional justice; constitutional complaint; law enforcement in a particular case; local and municipal self-government; protection of rights; regional government; the structure of local self-government


This paper presents a survey of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in autumn-winter 2015 on the organization of local self-government, as well as on the exercise of power and administrative authority of local governments at the new stage of municipal reform. This stage started after amendments made by two 2014 Federal Laws to the basic municipal law on local and municipal government, followed later by a couple of other federal Acts (including relevant changes in the Budgetary Code). The author focuses on constitutional complaints of citizens and elected officials as well as judicial proceedings. The article also analyzes the actual state of access of citizens and local office-holders to constitutional justice in protecting the rights of local government, the procedural problems of complaints admissibility on municipal affairs. The author offers her own version of the reasons for rigid interpretation of the Constitutional Court of the law in a particular case in allowing the applicant to access of c to constitutional justice in protecting both the rights of local government and rights of citizens. A special author’s attention is paid to the Constitutional Court Ruling of 2015 on the famous Irkutsk case when the subject of the dispute was the principle of the rights of the local community and its citizens to decide on the system of self-government and when the independence of their will was violated. Author provides her own critical assessment of issues which the Court has not taken into account in its final conclusion, though they were of the great importance for deciding on constitutionality of the contested provisions.

About the author: Elena Gritsenko – Doctor of Sciences in Law, Professor, Department of State and Administrative Law, State University of Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Citation: Gritsenko E. (2016) Munitsipal’naya reforma v fokuse resheniy Konstitutsionnogo Suda Rossii: novoe v protsessual’nykh i material’no-pravovykh podkhodakh [The municipal reform in the focus of the Russian Constitutional Court: new substantive and procedural approaches]. Sravnitel'noe konstitu­tsionnoe obozrenie, no. 5, pp. 43–71. (In Russian).


Babichev I.V. (2015) O nekotorykh aktual’nykh tendentsiyakh i zadachakh razvitiya mestnogo samoupravleniya [On certain actual developmental trends and goals of the local self-government]. Konstitutsionnoe i munitsipal’noe pravo, no. 3, pp. 46–54. (In Russian).

Babun R. (2015) Mestnoe samoupravlenie snova vstraivayut v vertical’ gosvlasti [Local self-government is again being incorporated into power vertical]. Ekonomika i zhizn’, no.17 (9583), 8 May. Avaialble at: (accessed 05.07.2016). (In Russian).

Borisova A., Gavrilova O., Ivanov L., Khramova T. (2016) Obzor postanovleniy, vynesennykh Konstitutsionnym Sudom Rossiyskoy Federatsii [A review of judgments of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no. 1, pp. 157–168. (In Russian).

Grigoryeva S. (2016) Verkhovnyy Sud otkazal zhitelyam Yuzhnogo Urala v prave na pryamye vybory [The Supreme Court refused the citizens in the Southern Urals in the right to direct elections]. Avaialble at: (accessed 05.07.2016). (In Russian).

Gritsenko E. (2014) Konstitutsionno-pravovye osnovy peredachi gosudar­stvennykh i munitsipal’nykh zadach chastnym sub’ektam v rossiyskom prave. In: Gritsenko E., Manssen G., Himmelreich A. (eds.) Publichno-chastnoe partnerstvo v munitsipal’noy sfere: germanskiy i rossiyskiy opyt [Public-Private-Partnership in municipal communities: German and Russian experience], Мoscow: Infotropik Media, pp. 1–50. (In Russian).

Gritsenko E., Will R. (2015) Zashchita prav mestnogo samoupravleniya sredstvami konstitutsionnogo sudoproizvodstva [Local self-government rights protection by means of constitutional justice in Russia and Germany]. Zhurnal konstitutsionnogo pravosudiya, no. 4, pp. 22–38. (In Russian).

Kostyukov A.N. (2014) Reforma v nikuda… [A reform leading nowhere…]. Konstitutsionnoe i municipal’noe pravo, no. 4, pp. 58–63. (In Russian).

Kostyukov A.N., Blagov J.V. (2016) Konstitutsionnost’ munitsipal’noy reformy [Constitutionality of the municipal reform]. Konstitutsionnoe i munitsipal’noe pravo, no. 6, pp. 62–65. (In Russian).

Shugrina E.S. (2015) Novyy etap munitsipal’noy reformy ili kontrreformi­rovanie kontrreform? [New stage of municipal reform or counter-reforming of counter-reforms?]. Konstitutsionnoe i munitsipal’noe pravo, no. 4, pp. 58–71. (In Russian).

Vasiliev V.I. (2015) Mestnoe samoupravlenie na puti tsentralizatsii i sokra­shcheniya vybornosti [Local self-government on the way to centralization and restricted elections]. Zhurnal rossiyskogo prava, no. 9, pp. 149–161. (In Russian).